This article appeared in the September/October 1997 issue of Everton's Genealogical Helper.

The Master Genealogist Tips

By Lee H. Hoffman

A computer consultant with more than 20 years in
genealogy who has used TMG for over five years.


Multiple Use Reports 
While TMG has many features, some are so ordinary that many users don't realize how much they can help. One of its more powerful feature is the Custom Report Writer which may be used to create almost any report that a user would want. But TMG has the capability of creating a report definition that may be used over and over again. For example, if the user created a report definition in the Custom Report Writer to list all male persons that could have served in the Civil War. The criteria for this would be something like all males born between 1810 and 1840. Many new users would make a Focus Filter something like:
                            Any Birth Date-Year    Is Greater Than        1820    AND
                            Any Birth Date-Year    Comes Before           1840    AND
                            Sex Flag                           Equals                        M         END

Now this report definition would be saved and generated as often as needed and would produce a very nice report that the user could use to find those person in the dataset that could have served in the Civil War. But, suppose the user wants to revise the criteria after learning that some that served in the Civil War were very young. Maybe the youngest might have been 14 years old, which for the later stages of the war, might have been born as late as 1851. It is very easy to edit the report definition changing the filter ending date to 1852, and then generate the report.

While this is an excellent tool for research and can help find potential candidates for further research, it is somewhat limited in that it can only be used for the years specified unless the report definition is again edited. While changing a report definition filter is very easy, it doesn't have to be done again and again each time a new set of dates are used as the criteria.

Later, the user may want to find males person that could have served in World War I or some other war or just males that were born in any span of years. The user can with little effort create a new report definition very much like the one just noted above using the new criteria or can copy the report definition from above creating a new definition and change the year there. A third and better method is to change the filter of the Report Definition so that it has a filter like this:
                        Any Birth Date-Year         Is Greater Than         [?]              AND
                        Any Birth Date-Year         Comes Before            [?]              AND
                        Sex Flag                               Equals                         M                END

Now when the report is generated, TMG will ask the user to enter the criteria years for which you want the report.You can have up to eight filter lines for a report definition, and you can use this variable on each of the lines. Thus you can have one report definition that can be used more often. And if you designate this report on the Custom Report Writer Log as a primary report, you can call the report directly from the Report menu of the main program. This "[?]" variable can really help the TMG user by allowing more time to be spent on research and less time creating report definitions.

TMG Online
Users can discuss The Master Genealogist in many online forums. TMG is represented on CompuServe in the Genealogy Support forum (GO GENSUP). On the Internet, a user mailing list for TMG is available by sending a message to: with the message reading: subscribe tmg-l. Since TMG is so flexible, each user can mold it to their way of doing genealogy. These online discussion areas allow users to trade ways they have used TMG to advance their research.


                           Further information about The Master Genealogist can be obtained from Wholly Genes, Inc., 5144 Flowertuft Ct, Columbia, MD
                           21075, on the TMG website <> or tollfree at 1-877-TMG-FAMILY. TMG Tech Support is available at
                           1-410-715-2260 or by e-mail at <>.

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